# How can I say “¹⁄ₓ” in words?

It is possible to state a fraction such as ¾ in words as follows: three fourths.

Can someone please let me know how to say ¹⁄ in words?

• The reciprocal of x. One part in x.
– Kris
Commented May 9, 2018 at 9:34
• To add on @kris's answer: one over x, or one divided by x.
– JJJ
Commented May 9, 2018 at 9:47
• Thank you all. So I cannot say one x-th. Right?
– MTMD
Commented May 9, 2018 at 9:48
• One over x is one of the most frequently used, especially in Calculus class. Edit: No you can't say one x-th. I have never heard anyone say this. Commented May 9, 2018 at 9:48
• "An nth" is already well in use. So, it depends on the context: "In fact, the black holes took so much with an xth of a millisecond that they instantly reverted and became white holes." "... gas at position x. Leaving an xth of a tank so it can get back ...".
– Kris
Commented May 9, 2018 at 10:01

There are a number of options, and none are particularly preferred because the need to phrase this specific quantity in everyday English is not common.

So, in no particular order:

• One out of `x`
• One over `x`
• One `x`-th

Choose whichever suits your needs or will work best for your audience.

• Mathematician here! "One over x" is far and away the most common of those choices. Commented May 9, 2018 at 14:39
• As a mathematician, would anyone in real life say “the reciprocal of x” for `1/x`? I didn’t put it in because the notation makes this feels like an elementary or arithmetic context, as opposed to a more advanced or algebraic context, where I’d expect words like “reciprocal” to be paired with notations like `x^-1`. Not sure if I should add it as a suggestion to the answer or not.
– Jane
Commented May 9, 2018 at 14:45
• It does depend on context. For example, if I were explaining how to solve the equation xy = 5 for the variable y (in terms of the other variable x), I might say, "Multiply both sides by the reciprocal of x." Commented May 9, 2018 at 14:53